Baroness, Camden Underworld, 19th Jan 2010

Posted in Gigs, Reviews on January 27th, 2010 by Alex

BaronessThe tonic qualities of booze and great live music should not be underestimated. Turning up at this gig when I really should have been at home attempting to battle the wee germs assaulting my body was perhaps ill advised, but I wasn’t going to miss Baroness live now was I?

The support provided by indescribably dire metal-or-some-such-bollocks-core Sondura did nothing to help my frail state. In intent, this formulaic tripe could not be further removed from Baroness. At best ignored and at worst booed by the crowd, by the end of their dire set I was wondering whether I’d make it as far as Baroness. For purely medicinal purposes I chucked back a shot of JD and stood firm.

I’m glad I did. The unassuming Georgians, who uttered not a word until the very end of their set, hypnotised the audience with their frantic intensity and epic heaviness. Singer/Guitarist John Baizley has become somewhat of an icon as the artistic lynchpin of the sludge stoner groove (whatever you want to call it) movement occupied by the likes of Kylesa and Torche. Standing before the diminutive, bearded one was like being in the presence of greatness – this was like watching a band fronted by Vincent van Gough.

Baroness delivered almost entirely unbroken set comprised largely of tracks lifted from the Red and Blue albums. The Baizley/Adams psychedelic guitar assault delivers precision tempered by occasional improvisational flourishes that are the hallmark of a really great live act. But Baroness aren’t showy, Baizley and crew seemed utterly emerged in these gargantuan riffs and progressive noodlings – here, the music does the talking, not the band.

The only disappointment of the evening was the omission of the brilliant Rays on Pinion, but the inclusion of a rousing rendition of Grad and The Birthing. Prior returning for an encore Baizley finally broke bands silence with a long, largely inaudible ramble about how London held a special place in their hearts and they are humbled by our support or something. Awww. Please come back lots more Mr. Baizley.

It seems a travesty that Baroness are playing such small venues when they deserve to be playing arenas. Alas, they are one of those bands that will probably never make it really big, but will constantly be cited by bands, bad and good, as a massive influence and clueless fans will pretend they always liked them.

By the end of it I felt pretty much ‘cured’ and when awoke in the morning, despite a mild hangover, was largely free of my ailment. Thank you Baroness – now can you get to work on the verruca I’ve got on my toe?

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The Devin Townsend Project – Addicted

Posted in Album, Reviews on December 22nd, 2009 by Alex

Let this be known by all bands: Album samplers are a really bad idea. What I mean by ‘sampler’ is a single track, usually placed on MySpace, made up of bits of other tracks spliced together. You see, I’m a huge fan of Devin Townsend. I own pretty much everything he ever recorded (including Strapping Young Lad), and not all of it is good (let’s be honest, Ziltoid is a bit pants). After hearing the album sampler of Addicted, Townsend’s second album this year, I thought “oh well, you can’t win them all”. I actually didn’t bother rushing out to buy it after hearing this. After all, attempting to record 4 albums in a year was always going to result in a bit of dross right? Obviously Townsend decided to get that over and done with on one album.

Wrong. Addicted takes a bit of getting used to. Harking largely back to Townsend’s earlier solo work, these darkened pop songs are about as far removed from SYL as he’s likely to get, and a massive departure from the progish restraint of quartet opener Ki. There’s heaviness here aplenty but it’s tempered by Townsend’s keen ear for melody. Vocal duties are a tag team effort between the bald one and Dutch chanteuse Anneke van Giersbergen, which sometimes feels a little disjointed, but for the most part softens and brightens proceedings.

This collection not only hangs together, but taken as a whole is actually quite affecting. Even ill-advised Coldplay pandering dirges like Ih-Ah! don’t manage to spoil the party. Highlights Awake! and the magnificent re-interpretation of Hyperdrive (which originally appeared in more muted form on Ziltoid) will have Townsend fans slavering for more.

Addicted just can’t be digested in little chunks, it needs to be lived with, which is why the sampler was such a bad idea – it just doesn’t do the album justice. This is no shallow pop album, but an asserted statement from one of metal’s grand conjurors. It’s not his best – it’s a far cry from the heady heights of Terria and Alien – and I think that Ki will stand the test time more gracefully. It’s also probably his least experimental, daring or (dare I say it) zany recording. So no boundaries pushed here, just a display of first class pop artistry.

Townsend will continue turning the rumour mill on what the final 2 DTP albums will sound like. The next instalment, Deconstruction, was originally touted as SYL by any other name. Townsend has since retracted this rumour, but as long as he keeps this sort of quality up, I’m not sure if I’ll mind that much if it sounds like M-People.

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The Devil’s Blood – The Time of No Time Evermore

Posted in Album, Reviews, Watchlist on September 30th, 2009 by Alex

The classic rock revival, for the most part, has left me cold. Bands like The Answer and Stone Gods indulging in big riffs and big balls show such a lack of imagination. Dutch classic rockers The Devil’s Blood have snuck into the metal arena on the back of Doom Metal’s recent surge in popularity. Their occult leanings and intermittent Sabbath referencing appears to have endeared them to the Doom community perhaps on the lookout for some light relief, particularly with their feelgood hit of the late summer I’ll Be Your Ghost. But what a welcome interloper this is!

Delivering classic rock in the vain of Blue Oyster Cult and Coven with Sabbath and Thin Lizzy flourishes, The Devil’s Blood are retro, but have their own distinctive identity. The singer’s quivering vibrato may polarise listeners as it can get pretty grating, but is largely smoothed out by the silky multi-part vocal harmonies of which this album is awash. Their sound is darkly atmospheric and truly epic. Huge riffs and harmonised dual guitars cut through the dreamy sheen giving this album some real punch and there are some razor sharp and perfectly timed guitar solos displaying prodigious fret board agility without being too showy.

Final track The Ant-Kosmik Magick is surely one of the standout tracks of any band this year. This sublime psychedelic rocker concludes the album with the best Floydesque guitar duel since Opeth’s Burden or Coheed and Cambria’s The Final Cut (indeed this is one of many parallels with C&C’s retro prog).

This album is perfectly executed and immaculately timed. There there’s no fat here at all – every track is a stormer. Despite the dark lyrical themes of witchery and black magick, this album is ultimately uplifting. Backward leaning without every being a parody, showing contemporary flourishes and some exemplary pop songwriting smarts.

German label Ván appear to have hit paydirt having also signed superb Swedish doomsters Griftegård. This will be in my albums of the year. Go buy it, because these guys deserve to be very popular indeed.

Listen on Myspace

Buy on Amazon

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Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive

Posted in Album, Reviews on September 2nd, 2009 by Alex

Fun, comfortable, unchallenging. Should these words be applied to something calling itself Thrash Metal? It’s not easy to say this, but that’s how I perceive Municipal Waste.

Harking back to the early days of Thrash, when it was as much a product of Punk than Metal, Municipal Waste make a heady, energetic noise that does exactly what the likes of DRI and Exodus did nearly 25 years ago. This is all nice and lovely, but certainly not essential.

The Waste spearheaded the recent thrash revival, which I greeted with utter enthusiasm at first, followed by nervous anticipation ending with mild disappointment. This style of thrash is fun and really gets your head nodding, but it’s so lacking in substance. While Exodus were making Bonded in Blood, Slayer were churning out the seminal Reign in Blood, Metallica Master of Puppets, Megadeth Peace Sells. These albums tore up the rulebook and pushed boundaries. That the recent Thrash revival seems to stop dead at this paradigm-shift is typical of flagrant lack of adventurousness displayed by Municipal Waste and others. If the bands that MW reference so heavily didn’t already have their tongue’s lurking in cheek territory, then we’d be talking about them is the same context as The Darkness and Steel Panther.

Massive Aggressive sounds like their previous album and has some utterly superb old-school riffage. The lyrical themes are stoopid and overall this is totally unchallenging, but that’s OK, you weren’t intending to listen to this sober anyway were you?

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Virus – The Black Flux

Posted in Album, New, Reviews on September 1st, 2009 by Alex

Norway’s Virus are described on their Wikipedia entry as “avant-garde jazz rock”, a lofty description, and I will say this, they don’t sound much like the British thrash band of the same name.

On the surface, Virus’ guitars sound like Mastodon’s: heavy but not overly distorted, doom laden, frequent use of resonating open strings, obscure scales, but here comparisons end. Virus tread a more gothic path, and tend towards slower tempos and more subtle song structures. Virus are progressive in the true sense of the term rather than the generic.

The Joy Division/Interpol inflected vocals cut through any metallic tendencies, giving the music an alternative feel. The melodies and musical structure are where they really shine though. Wilfully obscure, this is definitely rock music, and you can hear the jazz influence, but these intricate musical threads weave a much more complex and indistinct tapestry than many of their peers. So dense are these tracks that it’s easy to get lost in them, and sometimes hard to find your way out again – this combined with a sustained oppressive tone sometimes makes it a uncomfortable listen.

It’s difficult to know where Virus fits in the grand music scheme, but their place at the bleeding edge of heavy music is assured.

Listen to Virus on Myspace

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Sonisphere Festival, Sunday 2nd August 2009

Posted in Gigs, Reviews on August 5th, 2009 by Alex
iPhone - making people seem smaller the world over (in this case, Alice in Chains)

iPhone - making people seem smaller the world over (in this case, Alice in Chains)

I wasn’t sure whether I’d bother going to Sonisphere, it all looked too commercial to me, like V festival. It was also ridiculously expensive. However, since I couldn’t get to Download or Bloodstock I decided to give it a whirl. The line-up on the Sunday was also hard to resist.

The sun had mad an appearance for the first time in weeks and not even the police with sniffer dogs arresting skunk-laden youths and the ridiculously long wait for the festival bus could dampen genial my mood.

Walking past the campsite, was an eerie experience. It was like a ghost town. You usually expect to hoards of youths wallowing in beer cans and piss sodden dirt attempting to dampen their hangover with stale beer. Not here. It even looked fairly tidy!

I turned just in time to catch Lamb of God (7/10). LoG are heavy hitters in the modern metal arena. With over a decade of experience behind them, and some highly acclaimed albums, they should be pretty good at their art by now. The ferocity of their music translates well to the festival environment, and their performance is tight. Randy Blythe has real presence, but his incessant intra-song posturing wears thin after a while. Yes we know you are real metal and your music stimulates circle pits. Yes, the idiots at the front will continue to beat each-other up for your gratification. Shut up and get on with the music!

No sooner had LoG finished than Mastodon (9/10) lumbered onto the other stage. Now, I recently threw my toys in this post about Mastodon’s performance at Islington Academy. I was expecting an abridged version of Crack in the Skye, so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to their set or surprised when they kicked off with album opener Oblivion. I’d also resolved not to be such a cancerous old git this time, so I stuck around. What we were actually treated to was a spirited set that, although was largely derived from Crack in the Skye, also contained some classics from previous albums (although Blood Mountain was entirely absent). Flying through Megalodon and Blood and Thunder, we were then treated to a note perfect performance of this year’s best metal track The Czar: Usurper/Escape/Martyr/Spiral – the whole bloody thing. Crack in the Skye’s title track was an absolute pleasure, followed by the brutal Iron Tusk and March of the Fire Ants from Remission.

Mastodon are on flying form. I saw them a few years ago at Wembley arena supporting Tool and they really seemed like they felt out of place in such a large venue. The band I witnessed on Sunday seemed like they owned the place. Not only are Mastodon recording some of the most original and high quality music in any genre, but they are one of the coolest bands around – these guys a really starting to look like rock stars.

That left me with a smile on my face and wondering if anyone could top such a gargantuan performance.

Metal fans amuse themselves by making themselves dizzy while Machine Head play

Metal fans amuse themselves by making themselves dizzy while Machine Head play

The crowd now meandered back to the main stage – the subject of everyone’s conversation: who are the mystery “Special Guests”. The subject of much media speculation since Machine Head acrimoniously pulled out of the festival when (infinitely more successful) Limp Bizkit usurped them out of their original slot in the line-up. Randy Blithe had previously let the cat out of the bag but obviously no-one was listening as they all seemed surprised when Machine Head (5/10) took the stage. Confusing? The word you’re looking for is demeaning. The Brits, never known for their likelihood to forsake a little ironic taunting, were chanting ‘Limp Bizkit’ while MH vocalist gave his speech about “doing it for the fans”. Also, the boasting about the 28 circle pits, or whatever, formed by obviously bored fans during their set, made him sound like a ego bruised 12 year old.

MH’s set was uninspired at best. They never sound good live. Their set was punctuated by long, uncomfortable silences and self-aggrandising rhetoric. Robb Flynn has since been demeaning himself further online by continuing this one-sided war of words, while (somewhat ironically) Limp Bizkit remain commendably reticent. This isn’t David and Goliath, it’s Goliath and some irritating little fly that needs swatting.

Feeder were up next so I wondered off and bought an Alice in Chains t-shirt and got increasingly drunk while I waited for them to finish. The only tracks I saw them play were an ill-advised cover of Nirvana’s Breed, and a rendition of their only good song Just a Day, which was very enjoyable in the sun with a pint of cider.

Next up were the mighty Alice in Chains (9/10). Here’s an occasion that was making many folk nervous. The legendary Layne Staley replaced by some unknown bloke with an afro? You better be sure about this Mr. Cantrell!

Going straight for the nuts with Angry Chair merging into Man in the Box the crowd’s tension dissipates. AIC sound massive – heavy and assured. New guy William Duval gives his own spin to these classics. He’s no Staley, but then who is? He sings the tunes faithful to the originals but doesn’t try and ape his distinctive predecessor. He’s got a strong voice and is very much his own man. He still lacks a little of the stage presence needed to really command a festival stage, but he’s strutting his stuff with the best of them.

4th track in and Duval broaches the subject of the new album before launching into Looking in View. Several folks around me (who clearly hadn’t heard this new track) were audibly nervous about hearing new AIC tracks, but were blown away by the tracks slow, heavy doom genius. AIC are really back!

The band saunter effortlessly through Dirt‘s Them Bones and Dam That River and the crowd are getting really animated. We’re then treated to a second new track, the much jauntier Check My Brain. Like a perkier Again, this track has a really memorable chorus.

The closing salvo of crowd pleaser Would? and the haunting Rooster has the crowd singing at the top of their voices as the sun sets. Perfect.

So, fired up and raring for more top grade metal, the crowd once again makes the merry trek up to the main stage for Nine Inch Nails (3/10). This supposedly NIN’s last ever tour. They’ve had a long and distinguished career, and countless, memorable tracks that the majority of the crowd would surely know. So did they rattle of a greatest hits set for this rapturous audience? No, like the petulant and self indulgent tosser he is, Trent Reznor ‘treated’ us all to a set comprised of mostly ambient and barely audible arty numbers. I can’t even be bothered to track down what was actually played. Every time a track finished (it was kind of difficult to tell one track from the next) you could hear an audible intake of breath from the crowd hoping that the next sound would be the first few notes from Closer.

They closed the set with a note for note version of their (now) best known track Hurt. This seems entirely out of place as the crowd mumble along dispiritedly with the Jonny Cash version in their heads.

I’m a big fan of NIN, but this display was nothing short of offensive. Not appropriate or impressive, just shit.

I’d like to tell you all about Avenged Sevenfold, but they’re shit, so I didn’t watch them. I got through about 3 songs of Metallica’s set before James Hetfield, clearly taking notes from Robb Flynn’s earlier waffle, decided to indulge in some sycophantic crowd wooing. I saw then live, and much closer, a few months back, and I had a long journey home ahead of me. There was no way they would top AIC and Mastodon, so I left Hetfield wittering on and went home.

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AC/DC, Wembley Stadium, 26th June 2009

Posted in Gigs, Reviews on June 27th, 2009 by Alex
Old Devil

Old Devil

It’s difficult for me to write about AC/DC without being autobiographical. At the age of 9, my only exposure to popular music was Wham! and dancing to Howard Jones with my sister. We’d recently moved house to a new area, and I got in with the local crowd of greasy youths, who were into some strange music that I’d never heard of before. My cultural consciousness was ripening and I was ready to belong, to something, to anything. So when one of those listless youths played me AC/DC’s For Those About To Rock…We Salute You (and, incidentally, Iron Maiden‘s 2 Minutes to Midnight) my brain lit up like a torch – I was infected.

Years later I still rate that track as the greatest piece of rock ever recorded. I mean seriously, it’s got a 21 gun salute! In recent years it became an ambition of mine to see it played live. What more spectacular event could there be? A culmination of a lifetime of love of the rock and roll art form.

Before this year I’d never seen AC/DC live – never managed to experience the movable rock and roll mecca that is For Those About To Rock… live. They’d not been to these shores for many years and many expected that they would never return. So as you can imagine, when they announced the tour I snapped up tickets as fast as Ticketmaster could get me through the booking process (which is actually quite fast – there’s a nerve pummeling time limit, it’s like being on the Crystal Maze).

I actually bought 2 lots of tickets, one for the 02 gig and one for Wembley – I wasn’t going to miss this, no siree! But, it was seeing this spectacle in a stadium that was really my dream, and could imagine that I was seeing it at Monsters of Rock. So it was all building up to last night.

The O2 gig was fabulous. The set was solid, but the set list was published in the paper the previous day, which removed some of the flavour of proceedings (see also my rant on predictability in live shows), but all in all it was fist in the air rock and roll fest.

Now, on to the review of last night’s gig. First thing’s first – the set list was the same as the O2 gig, exactly the same. To all intents and purposes I saw the same gig, just with more people watching it. The predictability, however, was largely balanced out by the atmosphere, which to use a hackneyed but appropriate term, was electric.

This is all the more impressive given that the very evening before, Michael Jackson had keeled over and died. There’s some interesting juxtapositioning here; according to Jackson’s lawyer, Jackson died of a heart attack brought on by an overdose of painkillers. Jackson was abusing these pharmaceuticals to calm feelings of anxiety over the 50, I repeat 50 consecutive gigs he was to play at London’s O2 arena. I challenge even a spring chicken like Miley Cyrus to pull off such a feat, let alone a 50 year old with mental health issues.

AC/DC, somewhat Jackson’s senior, didn’t go for the trendy option of a residency at the O2, they did a standard tour with a few stadium dates, but seeing them up on stage you can imagine them being able to do what Jackson clearly couldn’t. They may look old (Young’s thinning hair was painfully apparent) but they don’t act it. What’s more ironic is that whereas Jackson is clearly deranged, Angus Young, who on stage would appear deranged, almost certainly leads a understated suburban existence in one of Sydney’s leafier suburbs and is as well balanced as they come.

IMG_0541

Sweaty daddies and big explosions

The previous night’s events hadn’t dampened the crowds thirst for rock and roll. A set that confidently lifted several tracks from their phenomenally well timed new album Black Ice didn’t skimp on the classics either. The fact that everyone knew that AC/DC would play  their most well known and loved song Back in Black 3rd in in the set didn’t spoil anyone’s night. Young’s extended guitar thrash-outs didn’t bore anyone, they knew what to expect, cheered at the right time and marveled at his ability to make an increasingly discordant and evil noise with his guitar. There were explosions, which are always cool, and a giant lady pleasuring herself against a train. Nice.

The classics were rolled out exactly as they should be. The energetic stage act is played out exactly as it should be. Angus excreted exactly 7 gallons of sweat, exactly as he always does, and his brother and the other bloke stay at the back where they belong.

Everything in it’s right place. Just as it should be. That’s what rock and rolls about, right?

Actually no. No it’s not. The most rock and roll thing I saw all night was the drummer playing with a fag drooping from the corner of his mouth.

I’m not saying that it wasn’t an immensely enjoyable gig; it was – like being at a party with 50,000 of your mates who all like the same songs. Hearing that many people hollering the chorus to You Shook Me All Night Long is a wonderful thing. AC/DC should be celebrated, and this may be the last time any of us get to do that. But that’s just what is was – a celebration. Not a night that you will remember and cherish, something spontaneous, one in a million,  “were you there when…?”. Perfectly executed, passionately delivered, meticulously rehearsed and continuously repeated.

So, back to the culmination of my rock and roll loving life. I was about to rock. I was quite drunk. I was suitably boisterous. When the encores arrived, I was excited. Then it came.

How could it ever live up to my expectations? The crowd weren’t waiting with bated breath for this singular spectacle. They knew it was coming. They’d seen it before and were thinking about how to get to the loo and still stay ahead of the crowd to get on the train. The guns weren’t very big and there weren’t 21 of them (6 to be precise). It all finished too quickly, and was punctuated by sweaty daddies squeezing past me to leave the stadium.

Disappointed? Only in myself. At my age I should know better. Thank you AC/DC for 25 years worth of pleasure and for the countless more moments of pleasure you provide via my iPod. For that, I salute you.

★★★★☆ (4)

Setlist:

1. Rock N’ Roll Train
2. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
3. Back in Black
4. Big Jack
5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
6. Shot Down in Flames
7. Thunderstruck
8. Black Ice
9. The Jack
10. Hells Bells
11. Shoot to Thrill
12. War Machine
13. Dog Eat Dog
14. Anything Goes
15. You Shook Me All Night Long
16. T.N.T.
17. Whole Lotta Rosie
18. Let There Be Rock
Encore:
19. Highway to Hell
20. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

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MC Rut – 25 Years

Posted in Album, Reviews on June 22nd, 2009 by Alex
Seeing double

Seeing double

Like the White Stripes, California’s MC Rut (aka Middle Class Rut) make their stripped down noise as a backward leaning guitar-drum duo. However, kitch-blues revivalism this isn’t. MC Rut make pop-rock that could fill stadiums, and they make it sound BIG. There’s such a glut of obvious influences here it’s impossible to cover them all. The sound, especially the vocals, owes an obvious debt to Jane’s Addiction, although they sometimes come off sounding more like Blink 182. The music lies somewhere between BRMC and Torche – there’s indie, punk, stoner/doom, there’s a nod to robot repetition of Queens of the Stone Age and perhaps even the space-age stylings of Cave in.

If you’re starting to get the sense of a band that’s trying to please everyone, then you’re probably about right – they quote Jonny Cash, Radiohead and Sepultura as influences on their MySpace site. This EP is aimed squarly at the popular market. Sure, the vocals are shouty at times, and there’s a distinct whiff of middle-american angst here, but isn’t that what Green Day are selling bucket loads doing at the moment?

That said, trying to be popular isn’t a sin per se, especially if you manage to hold on to your respecatbility while doing it, something that MC Rut seem capable of doing.  You’ll find yourself humming along after 1 listen, and punching the air after 2. This is well crafted pop-rock of an order well in advance of most of their peers, and well worth repeated listens.

★★★★☆(4)

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Mastodon, O2 Islington Academy 9th June 2009

Posted in Gigs, Reviews on June 10th, 2009 by Alex

If I had to sum up my thoughts on last night’s Mastodon gig at the O2 Islington Academy in less than 5 words, they would be “It is not cool”. Allow me to elaborate.

Mastodont

Mastodon't

When Iron Maiden, touring to promote their (admittedly excellent) album A Matter of Life and Death they played the whole album, note for note, in its entirety from the beginning of the gig. That was not cool. However, in the fullness of time we forgave the Maiden their misdemeanor as, as they rightly put it, they had earned the right, after 2 and a half decades, to play their prized and critically acclaimed new album from start to finish live, should they so wish. Or to put it another way “we are Iron Maiden, and we can do what we want, so f*ck off!”. Fair enough as they did conclude the gig with some time honoured classics, but it still spoilt my enjoyment of the gig.

When The Mars Volta did the same thing, on their debut tour, celebrating their debut album, it was also not cool. But in fullness of time we learned to forgive them as, at that point it was the only material that they had ever recorded. They could have jumbled up the order a bit to make things a bit more exciting, but Deloused in the Comatorium was a concept album which threads a narrative, so playing it out of order would have seemed a little strange.  Fair enough, and the quivering afros did enhance the entertainment value somewhat.

When Metallica chose to perform their seminal album Master Of Puppets (1986) while on tour in 2008, this was cool. This album had earned its right to be performed in its entirety live. I would have killed to have seen that.

When, last night, Mastodon decided it would be appropriate to perform their (admittedly excellent) album Crack in the Skye in its entirety (I can only assume as I left half way through track 6) IT WAS NOT COOL! It still is NOT COOL. Neither band nor album had earned that right, and they had plenty of other astounding musical ditties to choose from.

You see, live music is all about spontaneity. If I want to listen to an album I can stick it on my iPod anytime and listen to it. I can even jumble up the order so I don’t know what’s coming next. I don’t need to spend 15 quid to breath in other people’s sweat and queue at the bar for overpriced beer – I just put my headphones on. Unpredictability cannot, and should not be taken for granted. Part of the mystique of the live experience hoping, nay praying that they play your most prized track, watching the clock thinking closing time is drawing uncomfortably near. Will it come as part of the encore? Will there be explosions or and extended space jam (thank you for this many times Queens of the Stone Age)?  Sculpting a set list is a different discpline than putting together an album’s running order. Knowing the setlist of AC/DC’s phenomenal gig at the O2 arena earlier this year actually detracted from my enjoyment of it, despite the fact that they always play the same stuff.

Hear me now Mastodon (or should that be Mastodon’t), it is NOT cool!

I can only thank Valient Thorr, last night’s support, for an electrifying and highly amusing performance in which the songs were in a random order and from multiple albums. Your beards are truly inspirational. Valient Thorr, that IS cool.

★½☆☆☆ (1.5)

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